More Interesting Facts


MI.Net Member
Jun 22, 2004
Here are more interesting facts about the Civil War.

Boys in the Civil War!

It might have been called The Boys' War.
Authorities differ, and statistics bristle in the controversy, but this is the offering of the Photographic History of the Civil War:

More than 2,000,000 Federal soldiers were twenty-one or under (of a total of some 2,700,000)-
More than 1,000,000 were eighteen or under.
About 800,000 were seventeen or under.
About 200,000 were sixteen or under.
About 100,000 were fifteen or under.
Three hundred were thirteen or under-most of these fifers or drummers, but regularly enrolled, and sometimes fighters.
Twenty-five were ten or under.

*A study of a million Federal enlistments turned up only 16,000 as old as forty-four, and only 46,000 of twenty-five or more.

*Yet by other authorities, the Union armies were made up like this: 30 per cent of men under twenty-one; 30 per cent from twenty-one to twenty-four; 30 per cent from twenty-five to thirty; 10 per cent over thirty.

*Confederate figures are skimpier, but one sample of 11,000 men produced about 8,000, the great majority, between eighteen and twenty-nine. There was one of thirteen, and three were fourteen; 31 were fifteen; 200 were sixteen; 366 were seventeen; and about a thousand were eighteen. Almost 1,800 were in their thirties, about 400 in their forties, and 86 in their fifties. One man was seventy, and another, seventy-three.

*Most of the youths of tender age slipped in as musicians, for there were places for 40,000 in the Union armies alone. There are numerous tales of buglers too small to climb into saddles unaided, who rode into pistol-and-saber battles with their regiments. Most famous of these on the Union side was Johnny Clem, who became drummer to the 22nd Michigan at eleven, and was soon a mounted orderly on the staff of General George H. Thomas, with the "rank" of lance sergeant.

*No one knows the identity of the war's youngest soldier, but on the Confederate side, in particular, there was a rush of claimants. Some of their tales belong with the war's epic literature:

*George S. Lamkin of Winona, Mississippi, joined Stanford's Mississippi Battery when he was eleven, and before his twelfth birthday was severely wounded at Shiloh.

*T.D. Claiborne, who left Virginia Military Institute at thirteen, in 1861 reportedly became captain of the 18th Virginia that year, and was killed in 1864, at seventeen. (This likely belongs with the war's apochrypha.)

*E.G. Baxter, of Clark County, Kentucky, is recorded as enlisting in Company A, 7th Kentucky Cavalry in June, 1862,when he was not quite thirteen (birth date: September 10, 1849), and a year later was a second lieutenant.

*John Bailey Tyler, of D Troop, 1st Maryland Cavalry, born in Frederick, Maryland, in 1849, was twelve when war came. He fought with his regiment until the end, without a wound.

*T.G. Bean, of Pickensville, Alabama, was probably the wars most youthful recruiter. He organized two companies at the University of Alabama in 1861, when he was thirteen, though he did not get into service until two years later, when he served as adjutant of the cadet corps taken into the Confederate armies.

*M.W. Jewett, of Ivanhoe, Virginia, is said to have been a private in the 59th Virginia at thirteen, serving at Charleston, South Carolina, in Florida, and at the siege of Petersburg.

*W.D. Peak, of Oliver Springs, Tennessee, was fourteen when he joined Company A, 26th Tennessee, and Matthew J. McDonald, of Company I, 1st Georgia Cavalry, began service at the same age.

*John T. Mason of Fairfax County, Virginia, went through the first battle of Manassas as a "marker" for the files of the 17th Virginia at age fourteen, was soon trained as a midshipman in the tiny Confederate Navy, and was aboard the famed cruiser Shenandoah.

*One of Francis Scott Key's grandsons, Billings Steele, who lived near Annapolis, Maryland, crossed the Potomac to join the rangers of Colonel John S. Mosby, at the age of sixteen.
Source: "The Civil War, Strange and Fascinating Facts" by Burke Davis
Little Johnny was only 9-years-old when he ran away from home to join the Union Army during the Civil War. At first, he was turned down and told that the army “does not enlist infants,” but Johnny couldn’t accept no for an answer. He accompanied the 22nd Michigan Volunteer Infantry until 1862 when he was adopted as a mascot and drummer. Everyone loved the little boy, and officers even chipped in to pay his monthly salary of $13 until he was allowed to enlist in 1863 officially.

According to some accounts, he was involved in the Battle of Shiloh and reportedly almost lost his life when his drum was destroyed by a fragment from a shrapnel shell. An article published by the New York Times in 1915 states that “one of the first battles in which the regiment figured was that of Shiloh where the Confederate General Albert Sidney Johnston was killed and where the fame of Ulysses S. Grant as a soldier may be said to have begun. In that battle, Clem got into the very hottest of the fight. He came very near to losing his life when a shrapnel shell exploded within a few feet of him. A fragment of the shell crashed through his drum and the shock of the explosion hurled him unconscious to the ground, where he was subsequently found and rescued by his bigger comrades. After the battle, the soldiers nicknamed Clem “Johnny Shiloh”.”

However, it was the Battle of Chickamauga that made the little drummer boy a national celebrity. This time Clem carried a musket instead of a drum. At one point, he was spotted alone by a Confederate colonel who asked him to surrender, but apparently, little Johnny had other plans. He turned around, raised his rifle, shot and wounded the Colonel. After this event, he became known as the “Drummer Boy of Chickamauga” and was promoted to sergeant, thus becoming the youngest non-commissioned officer ever in the U.S. Army.

This was not the end of Clem’s army career, and he went on to fight in several other battles and was wounded twice in the battle of Atlanta. He was discharged in 1864, at the age of 13.

After graduating from high school in 1870, Clem tried to enter the United States Military Academy but failed the entrance exam.

He was then appointed second lieutenant in the Twenty-Fourth United States Infantry by President Ulysses S. Grant and served in the army for the next 45 years. The “Drummer Boy of Chickamauga” retired in 1915 with the rank of brigadier general and promoted to major general one year after retiring. He died on May 13, 1937, in San Antonio and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Clem in 1867

Clem in 1922
A liitle known piece of history, when Portugal fired on Union ships...

After the non-battle at El Ferrol, the “CSS Stonewall” arrived in Lisbon on March 27 for additional supplies before it started the Atlantic crossing on March 28. It was shadowed all the while by the “Niagara” and the “Sacramento.” A few hours after the “Stonewall” left, the “Niagara” started to change its anchorage. The commander of the Belem tower mistakenly believed that the “Niagara” had resumed its pursuit in violation of the 24-hour internationally recognized window after a belligerent had left a neutral port, and opened fire on the ship. This was the only time a foreign country fired upon a U.S. warship during the Civil War. (Kennett, op. cit., p. 82).


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